Tag Archives: labyrinth

Evelyn’s Studio

Evelyn’s Studio. Since 1999 I have used this logo on my sew-in labels on all my artwork and products.

logoI love this logo, with a labyrinth hidden in it. In later years it was my frameshop sign as well. It was designed by a dear friend, Scott Martyn, who died some years ago from cancer.

Image 2I finally ran out of labels last week. When I phoned the company Laven Labels to reorder they couldn’t find my file, because it was so long ago and before the days of ordering online.

So it has prompted me to rethink my logo and name. If someone were to attempt to find me online using “Evelyn’s Studio”, they wouldn’t.  Evelyn Ward de Roo is a bit of a mouthful when it gets transcribed to a 1″ x 1″ label. I go by WaveSong on Etsy. WaveSongArt on Instagram. So I’m playing around with something in that vein.

Image 3

But I’m so reluctant to give up my pretty logo. It’s funny how necessity can prompt change.

November 4th UPDATE:
My new label design…..

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The Labyrinth Lady – Sylvia Senensky

Sometimes you sit in a coffee shop and, even though you don’t really mean to, you overhear the conversation going on at the next table. That happened to me last week. And I truly believe that I was in the right place at the right time.

The group at the next table were engaged in conversation and all of a sudden my ears perked up when I heard the name “Sylvia Senensky”.  I turned to the woman and interrupted. “Did I hear you say the name Sylvia Senensky, the Jungian analyst? “

Yes.

Back in the mid 1990’s the idea of the labyrinth had come into my consciousness.  A friend showed me a copy of a newsletter of the Jungian society in Canada which had an article about labyrinths. It was written by Sylvia. She and I were both native Winnipeggers. And that connection and my newly sparked interest in labyrinths possessed me to contact her, hoping that she would let me read her thesis on labyrinth work. After some initial questions, she wanted to know who I was and why I was so interested, she mailed me a copy.

Sylvia had a profound influence on my journey. Through her I discovered the Divine Feminine, the hidden feminine face of God which I had never experienced. I found it in the centre of the labyrinth.

Ev & Sylvia Senesky

Ev & Sylvia, 1995

She opened a new way for me to engage in my theology and spirituality.

“In our lifetimes, we undergo multiple journeys in and out of the center… A journey into the dark can entail facing our own destructive capabilities as well as acknowledging and dealing with others’ conscious or unconscious destructive feelings and acts toward us. Equally important, it can connect us with repressed talents, with our latent creativity, and the open, loving hearts that are our birthright. The more we work with our inner demons, the more we open ourselves to the larger story of who we really are and what we can become.”

I attended workshops which she held in Toronto, early offerings which she was developing in her Jungian practise. She was committed to sharing the power of the labyrinth as a tool for personal and community transformation.

labyrinth wksp2

laying out the Chartres design labyrinth with masking tape on plastic, Toronto, 1995

labyrinth wksp3 candlelight

labyrinth by candlelight

She spearheaded one of the earliest public labyrinths in Toronto in High Park in 2001.

HIgh Park Labyrinth, Toronto

HIgh Park Labyrinth, Toronto

In 2003 when she published her book, Healing and Empowering the Feminine: A Labyrinth Journey, I drove to Toronto for the launch.

book cover

Healing and Empowering the Feminine A Labyrinth Journey, Sylvia Shaindel Senensky, Chiron Publications, 2003,194 pp.

In the book she “probes the inner depths of the labyrinth as a source of archetypal feminine energy—the womb, the cave, the domain of the Goddess, the core of the earth, the encounter with planned chaos and the consequences of the ignored shadow. Senensky draws on powerful personal experiences, the stories of women she has worked with as clients and workshop participants, and a rich literature of myth and fairy tale that includes Theseus and the Minotaur, Demeter and Persephone, Inanna, and Vassilissa the Beautiful. Poems and quotations also serve as examples.”

“The Feminine is about process and relationship. It is about playing, experimenting, doing several things at once. It is not goal-oriented, although there may be a goal towards which we are heading. It is the process of getting to the goal that is all important. The twists and turns, the forward and backward movement of the labyrinth, the dancing between the quadrants, the act of allowing the unexpected to affect your journey, the still point at the center – that is static and containing while honouring the rhythms and movement of life and death – all form an exquisite portrayal of how Feminine energy manifests itself.”

Many years later I had lost contact with Sylvia and tried to find her on the internet. Her website was not to be found. She seemed to have disappeared.

That day in the coffee shop I found out why.

The lady had been a childhood friend of Sylvia’s. She told me that Sylvia had moved from Toronto to BC, had fallen in love but then tragically developed dementia. She is now in a personal care home.

Sylvia’s eyes were very unique and I often wondered why she always looked so sad. The woman in the coffee shop unlocked this mystery. Sylvia was born without eyelids, a genetic trait for which she had had many surgeries. It was because of this that she chose not to have any children.

I felt glad for the update about my mentor and thanked the woman very much. I told her of Sylvia’s profound effect on my life. It seemed to make the news of her mental demise a little easier.

Thank you Sylvia for your wisdom and insight. You held the thread for me as I traversed the labyrinth of my own personal healing. You had the courage to share your discoveries with the world in person and in print. I’m grateful that I have a signed copy of your book to study and which to refer.

I am also grateful for your deep personal journey and how I walked with you for a few brief steps of it.

“…We have lost touch with what it means to live in the mystery of existence. Most of us get caught up in the ebb and flow of daily life, following paths laid out for us by social structures we have come to accept as the norm. We forget that life is not lived in a straight line. We forget that death is always sitting on our left shoulder.”

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth woven mat, Evelyn Ward de Roo

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth woven mat, Evelyn Ward de Roo

Sylvia has 24742_apa bachelors degree in Occupational Therapy and Masters degree in Adult Education and Applied Psychology. She is a Zurich- trained Jungian Analyst and a graduate of Jean Houston’s training program in the Cultivation of Human Capacities. She spent the first part of her career working with physically handicapped and emotionally disturbed children, followed by many years teaching at community colleges in the Toronto area. She has lectured internationally on Jung and the labyrinth and its connection to the Feminine as well as being an experienced workshop leader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medaille House Labyrinth

Medaille House Labyrinth, London Ontario - Sandi Spaulding Photographer

Medaille House Labyrinth, London Ontario – Sandi Spaulding Photographer

In 1998 I spearheaded a labyrinth building project at Medaille House Retreat Centre in London, Ontario.  A 60′ diametre labyrinth based on the classical 11 circuit Chartres Cathedral design.

What prompted my memory of this event was finding this cardboard template tucked away in my storage room. Before tossing this in the recycling bin I wanted to document the story of this labyrinth. Because it’s now gone and so is the retreat house.

photo

Labyrinth lunation template

The Sister’s of St Joseph in London ran a beautiful retreat house with acres of forest on the north bank of the Thames River. Many times during the 1990’s the house and the wisdom of the Sisters had been a refuge for me.

Original retreat house, now demolished

Original retreat house, now decommissioned and lovingly demolished and recycled

They desired to add a labyrinth to their park-like grounds as a walking meditation tool for their retreatants.

Laying out the pattern was an entire day’s work with the help of a few of the sisters. We decided to orientate the labyrinth so when you entered beside a huge old tree stump you would be facing west. A small tree would be in the very centre.

measuring tool and spray paint cans

measuring tool and spray paint cans

painting the outer wall

painting the outer wall

starting lunations on the edge

starting lunations on the edge

Medaille Labyrinth 8

facing northwest

Medaille Labyrinth 6

facing south

giant old stump was the entry point, photo is facing east towards the retreat house

giant old stump was the entry point (photo is facing east towards the retreat house)

after a long labour, we gave birth to a finished labyrinth (facing west)

after a long labour, we gave birth to a finished labyrinth (facing west)

A few months later the painted pattern was covered with river rocks. It lasted for many years until the Sisters decided to decommission it because they were creating a new structure on the lot. They opened a new retreat centre and built a beautiful brick labyrinth in the new location. It has also subsequently closed as well.

Labyrinth Encased After an Ice Storm photo by Sandi Spaulding

Labyrinth Encased After an Ice Storm photo by Sandi Spaulding

I am indebted to Sandi Spaulding for her photographic archive of this labyrinth.

For more information about labyrinths check out The Labyrinth Society.

Have you ever walked a labyrinth?

Portable Labyrinth

Santa Rosa

This is a Santa Rosa Labyrinth.  It is a seven circuit modified Medieval labyrinth, modelled after the 12th Century one laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral. This one was designed in 1997 by Lea Goode-Harris. Labyrinths are used today as a meditational tool; walking to calm the spirit and seek guidance.Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 1.26.32 PM

“The heart-space on the fourth path of the Santa Rosa Labyrinth is unique to this seven-circuit design. Approached from all four directions, this space has been the inspiration and focus for many labyrinth walks, poetry, and photos.” L. Goode-Harris.

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Santa Rosa Labyrinth Heart Space copyright Lea Goode-Harris

I painted this in 1999 for a turn-of-the-century Millennium eve ceremony.

Particulars:

  • 20 foot diameter
  • Santa Rosa design, seven circuit modified Medieval labyrinth, modelled after the 12th Century Chartres Cathedral
  • Weight – approx 25-30 lbs.
  • plasticized white canvas with eggplant coloured lines
  • walk in sock feet without shoes or barefoot
  • may be used outdoors

Santa Rosa Labyrinth2

 

Today was a Good Friday

Today is a good Friday. Today is Good Friday.

I didn’t wake up this morning knowing that I was going to deconstruct my little backyard labyrinth on this sunny day. It came about during a leisurely conversation with my husband after attending the morning Good Friday service at our church and eating lunch on our back deck on this first warm day of spring. We were getting ready to do some yard work and he nonchalantly said, “I have a suggestion for you, take it for what it’s worth. I think it’s time to decommission the labyrinth.” Sitting there looking at our forlorn little labyrinth in its sorry looking pre-daffodil state, my heart smiled and said “Yes”. There was no struggle.

Thirteen years ago I laid a 15 foot diameter labyrinth in my backyard.

Ev labyrinth backyard

Back in the mid 1990’s “the labyrinth” had nestled its way into my spiritual walk and I had embraced it as a meditative tool with great fervour and gratitude. I designed and built huge labyrinths at retreat centres and smaller backyard ones for friends. Dr. Lauren Artress’ book Walking A Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as Spiritual Tool equipped and empowered me to facilitate many labyrinth walks for others.

For my own labyrinth I had gathered the stones from all over. The centre stone I brought back as a ‘seed’ from my favourite retreat centre in the Catskill mountains. On a full moon in May 2000 I measured out the circle in my backyard and laid the stones by myself in a three circuit cretan labyrinth. Over the years I have collected many more stones from far away and they have found their place in this sacred circle.

A walking labyrinth, such as this, is the perfect personal meditation tool. It brought us meaning and joy. I walked it in the morning and prayed facing each direction.

Labyrinth in Winter

In the winter she poked out through the snow telling her story with her little upright standing stones.

I had planted her up with many daffodils and tulips so in the spring she bloomed her little heart out.

Labyrinth bloomingSpring Labyrinth

The stewardship of it had been waning however. To own a labyrinth one must be a good steward. Some of the stones had actually sunk into total disappearance, like the ground had eaten them. I thought about how the ancient European standing stone circles had withstood millennia. My labyrinth required more care than we could now give it. It was ceasing to be a nurturing space.

Labyrinth 2013 SpringToday seemed as good a day as any other to put our hands to the task. Before the daffodils appeared.

Ev digging

Labyrinth logo

Chartes Cathedral Labyrinth

When my husband took this photo I realized that I had inadvertently worn an old sweatshirt bearing the labyrinth logo! He partnered with me, as he has done in the past whipper-snipping the labyrinth in the summer.  moving stonesI honestly don’t know where we got the energy. We made short work of the rock removal, piling them behind our pond. Some larger stones took more prestigious spots in our front garden and some of the prettier ones will find a new home in my daughter’s new backyard.

When all the stones had been moved we walked it just one more time, with all the holes in the ground. Sort of felt like having your wisdom teeth removed.

As a contemplative musician it was the perfect opportunity to close the day with a ritual song for this decommissioning. Accompanied by my Remo buffalo drum, and much street noise, I sang a little intuitive melody. It’s certainly not the best video but it’s my way of giving thanks.

I laid the stones on a full moon and today was a full moon. It didn’t go unnoticed to us that this was Good Friday. The significance of that is still permeating. Sort of a ritual death, a releasing of something, a burial. A simplifying.